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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
067. (Textiles) Initial treatment techniques for Japanese Lacquer-based metallic thread and cut paper appliqué

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*This poster addresses an urushi (Japanese lacquer) based metallic thread that was used on an embroidered Japanese, early to mid-Edo period Nō Theater Chōken.  There were five motifs, each a variation of a naturalistically depicted spray of flowers set in a vase.  The couched metallic thread was used to outline each of the five vase shapes, two insect bodies and their antennas which alone appear on the center back motif, and the four butterflies which are on the lower edge of the front and back body panel.
*The couched metallic thread was originally made by using urushi as an adhesive which bound a metal foil to a paper substrate; the paper was then cut into narrow strips and wound around a silk core.
*These metallic threads suffered from severe surface flaking.  No prior documented stabilization methods for this type of urushi based metallic thread was found in conservation literature or in additional readings.
*Testing was done to establish that the adhesive was most certainly urushi, and the concept of using like materials to stabilize like materials was the basis for my choice of urushi.  Synthetic adhesives posed a greater potential for unforseen long term, incompatibility problems and hence were not used.
*The stabilization method was developed by contacting someone in New York City who gives workshops using urushi to repair broken ceramics, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This was Gen Saratani.  Even though he was not familiar with textiles in general, he showed me some simple steps as to how to use urushi and how to control the specifically needed levels of humidity.  Skin protection is necessary as urushi is related to poison ivy.  I was also able to procure from Gen a small amount of two types of urushi to test for my project.
*The rudimentary stabilization method used in the treatment of these metallic threads is the topic of this poster.

avatar for Elinor Dei Tos Pironti

Elinor Dei Tos Pironti

Textile Conservator, Fashion Institute of Technology
I am a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology's, Fashion and Textiles Studies program in NYC.  I am in the process of opening a small conservation studio in Brooklyn, with the intention of working on small private conservation projects and to be available to work... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower
  9. Poster, Textiles